Nailing NaNoWriMo: The Importance of Momentum

It’s finally here! That’s right ya’ll, NaNoWriMo is finally upon us, and just in time too. If I’d had to wait any longer I think the story I was planning would have torn itself out of my head, and started writing itself.

Being as I’m spending most of my time writing my novel, posts this month will tend to be on the short side, but today I just wanted to drop a little nugget of NaNo advice.

Remember back in high school when you used to put off papers until the last minute and then rush to get them done all at once the night before they’re due? Well guess what? High school is over. (Unless, you know, maybe you’re still in high school, in which case, I weep for you.)

And yet still I see people taking this same approach to NaNoWriMo. They revel in the mad dash at the end of the month, trying to make up the word count they were too lazy to pump out at the beginning. Today I am here to admonish you, DO NOT BE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE.

The key to a happy and productive NaNoWriMo, in my experience, is getting a good start. If you set out to write only 1,667 words a day, one of those day’s you’re going to fall behind and then you’re screwed trying to make that shortage up. Instead, take advantage of that first-of-the-month enthusiasm and write more than you have to.

This is good for two reasons. First, you probably have a better handle on the beginning of your story than you do on the middle or end. Getting those first few scenes you’re sure of written early in the month will help you when you get bogged down later on in the details that maybe you should have planned a little better.

Second, the more you write now, the less you have to write later. Okay, I know, duh. But seeing that “words per day needed to reach 50,000” number fall can be wonderfully addictive. Conversely, seeing it grow because you’ve fallen behind can be super discouraging, and in my experience discouragement begets more discouragement.

Again, this isn’t rocket science. It’s just me trying to encourage you to go above and beyond what you have to do. Which, when you get right down to it, is the key to success in everything you do.

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6 responses to “Nailing NaNoWriMo: The Importance of Momentum

  1. I’m a hard-core “putter offer,” but not when it comes to NaNo. I learned the hard way that staying ahead is much easier than catching up. I did an easy 1,800 words this morning, so anything else I write today is gravy. Hope to finish the day with 4,000 words.

    • Awesome! I started the day with 2000 words. I was going to do more before I went into work, but I spent some time browsing an antique mall with my wife instead. I do not regret one second of that. Also I’m planning to bring my AlphaSmart to work so I’ll get some more done on my breaks.

      • Up to 2,500 now, but I don’t work and have tons of free time. Alphasmarts are great for keeping up when you’re away from home. Nice to know you’re another user. Mine doesn’t get a lot of use, but it’s great backup in case the computer dies or the ISP gets wonky.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. In this case, more really is more.

    OK I’m off to set up my MC for a very long, hard crash. Happy NaNo-ing to you. See you at the finish line. 🙂

  3. O.O I could NEVER do that mad dash of waiting till the last minute. I don’t have that kind of time or get-go. I’d be lucky to get half before I would be too fried.

    Unfortunately, I have two story ideas and they aren’t being very loud. So I just picked one. My start is kind of slow at the moment.

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